Time-lapse captures cake and cookie decorating

Cake baking, cookie creating, and decorating have all become national obsessions during the pandemic. As we spend more time than ever at home, we have been looking for activities to absorb us as individuals and families. The popularity of concocting and eating tasty treats has increased as we try to make our day to day that little bit more interesting in unsettling times.

Time-lapse offers an ideal medium for capturing the intricacies of cake and cookie decorating and showcases easy step-by-step guides. Each stage requires great care, attention, and a very steady pair of hands. Sometimes processes can take a long time, hence time-lapse is needed to accelerate some painstakingly slow work.

Time-lapse is so effective in speeding up creative processes that it is used across social media and even mainstream television. Its fast pace helps to keep viewers interested and engaged. Time-lapse has become a key photography tool for all sorts of screen-based, food-related video work.  For example, recently in Nadiya Hussain’s BBC TV series Bake, speedy time-lapse sequences are used to show the creation of cakes and bakes.

Time-lapse Versus Real-Time

The intricacies involved in decorating cakes and cookies are very time-consuming, so to watch in real-time would not be visually arresting. In this video “Time-lapse versus real-time” we can immediately see the positive effect of speeding up the process of royal icing decorating.


Time-lapse is an effective and efficient method to show step by step tutorials, with each frame capturing the different stages required.

Cookie decorating time-lapse

Cookies are now not just for eating – they have become an art form. In recent years there has been a trend to use them as an artistic medium, taking biscuit decoration to a whole new level. Using elaborate designs, cookies can now be thoughtful, personalised gifts for friends, family and even used for promotional purposes by businesses for special occasions. One company that has taken biscuit making to the next level is Biscuiteers.

Biscuit decoration translates through time-lapse very effectively as their flat form means that from one camera position the whole process can be captured. Usually only a minute or two in length, such videos provide a birds-eye point-of-view to document the process of biscuit decoration. This is seen in “Incredible cookie decorating by Mezesmanna!”

Using time-lapse to showcase these artful designs, businesses gain followers, commissions, or those wanting to join tutorials via social media. Time-lapse has made an impression in terms of how cake and cookie decorating is presented on social media platforms – the home of the ‘how-to’ genre of videos.

SweetAmbs is an example of this – creating eye-catching, inspirational time-lapse videos as guides as well as to direct online traffic to her website. Through this, she has forged a career decorating cookies, holding tutorials, and writing books on the subject. Her time-lapse videos Food Emoji Cookies and FOOD EMOJI COOKIES PART 2! Fruits and Vegetables showcase her artistic talent and the services she provides.

Cake decorating time-lapse

Cakes have long been the centre piece of many occasions, from weddings through to christenings and birthdays. Cakes have increasingly become works of art, with bona fide artists taking their skills to cake decoration. There are an array of decorating methods with icing ranging from buttercream, fondant, royal icing, ganache, gum paste, marzipan to piping. Cake design can take many forms and use various techniques from stencils, pressed flowers, faux velvet, deckled edges to watercolour to name but a few.  Time-lapse is an excellent and eye-catching method of translating the numerous skills and labour-intensive work required in the various cake decorating techniques.

Time-lapse tutorials make techniques completely accessible and visually show each step in a simple straightforward way. The videos can be watched any time, to give initial ideas and then to be easily followed whilst creating cake designs in the kitchen.  

This simple yet effective time-lapse video, “Super satisfying cake decoration time lapse” documents the brushed embroidery technique in cake design. Whilst other cake designs are showcased in this amateur time-lapse compilation.

Another good example of time-lapse being used to capture the creation of show-stopping cake designs is this video of the Mermaid cake.

There are also cake artists that combine cake with non-edible structures, such as this Elephant Cake by Melissa Alt Cakes. This time-lapse reveals how the structure and artistic skill are more important than the cake itself, which just slots within the construction.

The effectiveness of time-lapse as a technique means it is used by mainstream TV shows and also by smaller businesses and amateurs to showcase their work.

The whole process, from start to finish in making the perfect wedding cake, was time-lapsed by the caterer Louis Gervais. All the stages of creating a 3-tier, love-themed wedding cake were photographed and edited together into a 3-minute time-lapse video. The sponge making, buttercream frosting, and fondant decorating were distilled into this engaging short time-lapse “The Wedding Cake – Timelapse Video”. Time-lapse enables the complicated work of skilled experts to unfold on the screen in a matter of minutes with no less attention to the detail of their craft.

These videos are practical but also visually engaging. So, whether viewers are planning on undertaking elaborate cake decorating or just watching the process for entertainment there is always a place for these fast-paced time-lapse edits.

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